LaQuisha Pillow utilizes all GHC’s flexible options to pursue passion in nursing

LaQuisha Pillow is a nurse at AdventHealth Redmond. Between working full time and taking care of her family, she’ll be the first to tell you Georgia Highlands College provides the flexible optins students need to be successful in their college and career goals.

LaQuisha takes her studies in the Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) from GHC and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN) with her on the job every day.

“I work on a Step-Down unit with a significant amount of our patient population being cardiovascular and thoracic patients,” LaQuisha said. “This includes open heart surgery, abdominal aortic aneurysm, carotids, amputees, chest pain, and more.”

And she has big goals ahead, including pursuing a master’s degree in nursing. GHC’s nursing program and bachelor’s degree, she says, is helping her get there.

“Obtaining my RN-BSN degree will expedite the process of me stepping into a charge nurse or leadership role,” she said.

LaQuisha will be the first to tell you her path toward a bachelor’s wasn’t easy, but she was committed and GHC provided the way.

“I am a non-traditional student, I work full-time hours and overtime when my unit needs it, [and] I am a single-mom… I understand the feeling of being overwhelmed, but I didn’t let that stop me. Instead, I let it be my motivation,” she said. “Don’t let life and adversity stop you from achieving your goals. The time will pass regardless, so utilize it to the best of your ability.”

In addition, she said GHC’s flexible class options helped her to move through her education while also handling personal responsibilities.

“Georgia Highlands College offers full-time and part-time options, as well as day and nighttime options. You can absolutely reach your goals, and the feeling of accomplishment is indescribable,” LaQuisha said. “Find the best fit for you, and make it happen.”

She added, “I have always had a desire to fix broken people, whether it be physically or emotionally. Nursing presented the perfect career path to cater to this passion.”

She initially decided to enroll in GHC’s ASN program because she wanted to expand her knowledge and skill set while attending a local college and continued on to the RN-BSN program to widen her career options.

“I enjoy learning and mentally challenging myself, and the RN-BSN program allows me to explore various avenues in nursing,” LaQuisha said. “I have learned that in the nursing profession you will never know it all. There is a continual learning process that requires your active participation. It wasn’t until about a year and a half into nursing that I felt like I finally got it and understood processes and transitioned from being so task oriented.”

While pursuing her degrees at GHC, LaQuisha also had the opportunity to share her knowledge with local youth through the Bartow County School System’s Teen Maze, held regularly at GHC’s Cartersville site.

“The Teen Maze simulation provides information about the consequences of alcohol, substance abuse, unhealthy sexual behaviors, and other elements that can harm young people,” LaQuisha said. “I was surprised to learn that the students did believe many of the myths that were circulating. Teen Maze was an eye-opening experience for me to discover that I enjoy being an educator.”

Following graduation, LaQuisha plans to spend another year working with cardiovascular and thoracic patients before pursuing a master’s degree in nursing. She said working another year in her current role will provide her with the opportunity to determine whether she would like to work as a nursing practitioner or in nursing education.

“I would like to explore different career paths of nursing, and I believe that GHC’s RN-BSN [helped] contribute to the process,” LaQuisha said.